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Counting Calories

Lulu Hunt Peters ( 1873-1930)
Diet and health, with key to the calories (Chicago : The Reilly and Lee Co., [1922])
MU Libraries Depository
613.2 P442d, 1921

Lulu Hunt Peters earned a medical degree from the University of California in 1909.  She struggled with her weight for much of her life, and in this book promises to share her secrets to weight loss.

Although written over 90 years ago, Peters’ book is surprisingly up-to-date.  Her formula for calculating one’s ideal weight approximates today’s body mass index.  She provides an accurate tabulation of the number of calories a woman needs per day.  Peters is also insistent on exposing the hidden caloric content of ordinary foods.  A malted milkshake, she warns, contains over 500 calories – a warning similar to that attached to many fast-food indulgences today.

Peters writes in a lively and informal tone that avoids medical jargon, while warning against weight-related diseases, diet pills, extreme exercise, and purging.  In an age of rapidly changing beauty standards, Peters was intent on exploding diet-related myths and giving women power over their health.

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